Thursday, 14 November 2019

My resignation email

Context: From 2015-2019 I worked at Ernst and Young, doing management consulting in finance performance improvement. I recently left to start a role at CEA. This was my resignation email at EY, sent to >100 colleagues, including members of the UK and US partner teams. 

Climate Stripes,  Annual global temperatures in yearly increments from 1850-2017, link

Friends and colleagues,

After four years at EY, Friday will be my last day. I want to express my deep thanks to all of you for many fantastic memories and for so being supportive to me, and I’m sure to many others too.

At EY we aren’t short of kindness as individuals. I think our culture is great. We do many interesting projects helping governments, businesses, and society tackling important problems. But I think there are some questions about our broader impact as an organisation. It’s much easier to say that you’re building a better working world than it is to actually do it. On current emissions pathways, there’s a 10% chance we end up with over six degrees of warming. Many of our clients’ activities are in tension with the firm’s values, to put it mildly. In EY’s global strategy launch last week, I don’t think I heard Carmine say the words ‘climate change’ once. Why?

I’d like to give a shout out to the Eco-Innovators team, including the heroic Allison Walker and Alicia Humphreys, and their many helpers, for trying to get people to think about these topics, who are hosting my talk on Wednesday analysing whether one person can make a difference. A particular thank you to the infinitely patient and kind Jessie Coates for her ongoing wisdom over several years. (Interesting that it’s a group of women sorting out a problem caused mostly by men?) But, taking all of our work, such as on this IPO into account, what really is the net impact of the firm?

I’m leaving and taking a pay cut to do something I believe in. My new role working for a charity in Oxford focuses on trying positively shape the future of humanity. This is in part due to 80,000 Hours, who help people use their career to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. I wouldn’t have got the role without the skills and training I learnt at EY – so a big thank you to the finance people team including Ross and Neil, and my various counsellors (Jessie, David, and Joe) and bosses over the years.  For those of you who are interested, I’ve written a bit on my blog about CSRmeditation, and a three part series on life in 2019 (books I readlife hacks that work, and where and why I donated money), with more articles coming – you can subscribe for email updates on the top right.

Humanity is very young – our species could live for many (many) thousands of years more. But whether we do, and how inclusive our institutions will be depends on our wisdom and compassion, and what we actually do rather than just what we say. We really do have this wonderful gift, and we are the richest and most powerful people on Earth - the future is in our hands. 

I’d love to stay in touch with all of you, which you can do through my blog, on FacebookLinkedIn, and in my personal email on CC. 

All the best,

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